Monday, March 21, 2011

What is our Obligation?

Imagine one day as you're walking to work, you pass a pond, in which you see a drowning child. You immediately think you should jump in to save her, but then it occurs to you that you're wearing a new pair of shoes that were very expensive. It doesn't take more than a fraction of a second for you to realize that saving the child is unquestionably worth the fact that your shoes will be ruined; not only would it be worth it, but it would be immoral for you not to jump in and save her, since it's a small sacrifice to save the child.

Most people would probably be on board with the statement "If you were in that situation, you would be morally obligated to jump in and save the child." However, if one were to say to them that there is the equivalent of a drowning child whom you could easily help to save, they just happened to be on the other side of the globe, people are much more reluctant to say "of course you would be morally obligated to help". But what is the difference? I think this is something important to consider.

You may correctly guess, that I find this argument compelling, and this has drawn me to donate about 1% of my monthly income to organizations that help try to end absolute poverty. This is money that I certainly will not miss (it's probably the amount I spend on candy or other gratuitous snacks every month, perhaps even less), so I'm not actually sacrificing anything that's even close to a comparable moral significance, to people starving. I urge you to go to to find out more information about what you can do to help

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1 comment:

  1. It's my life. I do what I want. Don't judge me fool! You are a fool, no more, no less. Begone! I banish thee to the depths of the ocean! The dark fire will not avail you, Flame of Udun! Go back to the shadow. You shall not pass!